British Sea Power – The Decline Of…

British Sea PowerBritish Sea Power and I have a bit of a chequered history. I have to admit that I was put off by their military inspired, rural chic. The band admitted themselves it was a pretentious look, but at least they weren’t boring. That was the last thing on my mind towards the end of their support slot at the Flaming Lips gig I went to in Glasgow. Towards the end of their set, chaos kicked in; the band abandoned playing one by one and went onto destruct their ornately, wooded stage. Cue one branch propelled towards me like a fucking javelin which smacked me in the shoulder. Bastards! Wasn’t going to buy their album. But after another support slot (this time with the Strokes), I decided to check them out.

BSP’s music was akin to the treble soaked guitar music of Pavement, but it’s much more refined. That said the vocals alternate between panting yelps and impassioned croons. The frantic “Apologies To Insect Life” is maybe an odd opener as the album never sounds as out of control as this song. After this, the pace softens a bit but the songs are stronger. “Remember Me” and “Carrion” are both atmospheric and probably the best thing on the album.

The epic and chaotic “Lately” should have closed the album, but is still a great statement. My favourite is the shimmering “Fear Of Drowning”, which alternates between calm spells and buzz-saw guitars. It has a brilliant solo towards the end which sounds like the desperation of drowning itself. I’m brave enough to say that I probably wanted not to like BSP, but their album won me over. It was really different to a lot of the music of the time but it still sounds really fresh and interesting now.

British Sea Power – Carrion:

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